How to Spend 2 Days in Tongariro National Park
You could easily spend a week in Tongariro National Park, a beautiful, diverse UNESCO World Heritage Site offering adventurous visitors countless outdoor activities. If you have only two days there, though, here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
**Morning and afternoon:**The 12-mile (19-kilometer) Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often called one of the best day hikes in the world. Get up early to get a head start on the trail. The first few hours are mostly uphill, as you cross a plateau with views of several active volcanoes. Stop for a picnic lunch beside a bright turquoise sulfur lake, and prepare for the descent. The downhill trail through native bush contrasts with the arid, moonlike landscape of the plateau. End at a parking lot, where your prearranged ride waits for you.
**Night:**Rest up. To rejuvenate your body and help prevent muscles from aching the following day, find a natural hot spring in Turangi or greater Taupo. Alternatively, seek out a relaxing massage.
Day 2: Cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road
**Morning:**Enjoy a leisurely brunch, then rent a bicycle so you can ride the easy-to-moderate 2.5-hour Ohakune Old Coach Road.
**Afternoon:**Hit the bike trail. The Ohakune Old Coach Road was constructed in 1906 to connect two ends of the North Island’s main trunk railway line, which were separated by rugged terrain. Revived for hiking and cycling, the trail features a cobbled road, steel viaducts, dense native bush, and views of the Central Plateau.
**Night:**You definitely deserve a rest at the end of the second day. Find a bar or restaurant and savor a few local New Zealand craft beers or some wine from nearby Hawke’s Bay.